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Omsorgsarbetets vardag och villkor i Sverige och Danmark: Ett feministiskt kritiskt perspektiv
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4109-9559
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The everyday realities and conditions of care work in Sweden and Denmark : A feminist critical perspective (English)
Abstract [en]

The present study analyses the welfare state as employer by studying eldercare workers’ experiences of their work in Sweden and Denmark.  The Nordic welfare states are often described as potentially women-friendly due to the availability of publicly provided services that enable women to combine paid work and caring responsibilities.  Whereas this might be empowering for a large group of women, paid care workers are often neglected in the discussion. The theoretical point of departure is Nancy Fraser’s dualistic model of gender justice, which encompasses redistribution (of material resources) and recognition (in the form of social status).

By utilising survey-data (NORDCARE) on Swedish (n=532) and Danish (n=732) eldercare workers, the study shows that care recipients have larger needs and working conditions are more arduous in Sweden. However, in both countries workers report deficiencies with regard to insufficient resources, such as lack of staff, limited opportunities for development and training, and lack of necessary equipment for lifting service users, of support from managers and of reasonable time for the tasks to be performed. The pressure at work makes the care workers feel inadequate in relation to quality of care they are able to offer.

The differences in job strain between the countries turn out to be of little importance when the care workers’ experiences of bodily and mental fatigue are compared. The bodies of the care workers are their main working tool and thus the bearer of the working conditions. More than 60 per cent of the respondents state that they often are physically tired after the day's work, and two-fifths of the respondents have seriously considered leaving their job during the past year. In both countries, the experience of physical and mental fatigue and the number of sick days over the past year are important factors behind thoughts about quitting the job.

Using a dualistic model of gender justice, where redistribution and recognition are theorised as overlapping analytical dimensions, the results are interpreted as continuous organisational shortcomings which make the care workers’ everyday work invisible, and in the long run imply a risk for their health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University , 2013. , 220 p.
Rapport i socialt arbete, ISSN 0281-6288 ; 144
Keyword [en]
care work, eldercare, working conditions, body work, gender justice
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95250ISBN: 978-91-7447-802-0OAI: diva2:659124
Public defence
2013-12-06, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveavägen 160, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-11-14 Created: 2013-10-24 Last updated: 2013-12-01Bibliographically approved

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Stranz, Anneli
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